Mental Health Awareness Week. How are you doing?

Hey guys! How are we all doing? I hope time in isolation isn’t treating you too bad, and that you are managing alright. It’s such uncertain times at the moment, so it is understandable to feel a bit up and down. Sending lots of love to all of you.

You might have seen it, but there’s an advert on at the moment from Nationwide, and it’s of a woman doing a video to her future self. I honestly just love it. One of the things she says is about asking how people are doing. She says that when we ask people, we really mean it at the moment. When we say “are you alright?” What we are really doing is asking a question that people really want the answer to, as opposed to it being another way to say “hello” or as a passing comment. They now care and I think that is so true right now. It’s so important that we look after our mental health and look out for others. I hope that people continue to ask after this is all over, and really care for the answer.

Now because it’s about Mental Health and the awareness of it at the moment, I thought I would write about it in my own perspective and try and help others with tips and advice. Something I always try to live by is: it’s okay not to be okay.

So if I had to reflect upon my mental health, I would say that I’ve come a long way over time. When I was a teenager, there was a period when I really struggled and had to have counselling. It’s nothing to be ashamed about because if you need help, you are more than entitled to go and seek it. It really helped me speaking to someone professional, and I would honestly say that with that help, and the support of my friends and family, I got through it and saw the light at the end of the tunnel. I came out a much more positive person, always ready to help others. You know I think I was always so keen to be the “agony aunt” because I knew how it felt to be down, low and really lonely, so I did not want anyone else to feel that way.

When I got older, and I came to university, I would say that overall, my mental health had improved. I had a boyfriend, friends, my family and my degree. It was good! Of course I had bad days, but overall I was good. I think we should be looking at the positives in this. When somebody’s mental health is really good, we should recognise this and be really proud of it.

Now let’s move onto lockdown. I don’t know about you guys, but my mentality has taken a huge toll. I’ve become extremely anxious all the time, overwhelmed and stressed. I just get myself into a massive fluster and I just can’t control it. Before I handed in my dissertation, I pressed the wrong button on my word document and I thought I had lost everything. I suddenly got really stressed and I ended up having a massive meltdown. I’d had a panic attack and I felt so drained and exhausted afterwards. It was so horrible. I felt so sad and low. Nothing has caused me so much stress and anxiety as my university work.

If someone asked me how I am now I’ve handed it in, I would say that I am feeling a little better, but still aware that I have other modules to submit. It’s weird, there’s days where I am happy and I can joke around, and I’m fine, but then there’s other days when I cry a lot and I’m on edge. There’s no in between really. I’m sure others are feeling the same.

Today’s been a tough day. I had internet issues this morning which meant that something went wrong, which was important. Then I lost something, which set me off again then I found myself in bed watching tv because I felt so tired and drained. Now it’s the evening I feel a little better, just tired all the time. I know that I’m going to get days like this, so that’s why I try and cheer myself up a bit by surrounding myself with loved ones or talking to friends online. Things that can help me feel a little better is what I try to do. Remember, every day is a new day. I hope tomorrow is a better day.

If I had to give some tips and advice about mental health, I’d probably say:

  • Be aware that not every day is going to be an easy one. Some will be really challenging, and may even bring you down, so just try and be kind to yourself and know that it’s okay not to be okay. This whole situation is especially hard at the moment, so remind yourself of that.
  • If you can, talk to people. I’ve found that communication is key and has really helped me. Not bottling it up and letting it out means that I don’t feel like there’s a massive weight on my shoulders. I feel relief for getting everything off of my chest. Try and be honest with someone, and help yourself lift some of the pressure.
  • Someone very special to me says “Only worry about what you have the power to control.” This basically means that there’s going to be plenty of things that I don’t have control over. This situation is out of my hands and is something I just need to adjust to. I need to manage it because I can’t change it. Worry about the things I have power over, because at least these things can be changed. You will have power over it.
  • In terms of the lockdown, it really is a time where people will feel frustrated and irritated, but try and remember that people are handling it differently. Some people may be struggling, others may be managing well. Try and remind yourself that everyone is going through the same thing. We’re all in the same boat, so let’s pull on each other instead of pushing each other away.
  • And lastly, don’t forget to smile. When I wake up in the morning, I look I’m the mirror, I take 2 deep breaths and I smile. It honestly really helps to start off my day in a good way, because it’s a positive way to begin. Even if you don’t feel like smiling, do it anyway. Taking deep breaths also really help calm you down and make you feel relaxed. I hope it really helps and works for you too.

Remember guys, this is only temporary. This isn’t going to last forever. We will all get through this. We can see our family and friends again and we can get back to a sense of normality. Hang in there guys, we’ve done so well already and come so far!

Lots of love, and until next time,

Asha

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